Mass hysteria took over the country as empty shelves in grocery stores appeared overnight. Toilet paper, disinfectants and cold medicine could not be found anywhere. News anchors talked daily about positive cases nationwide and within their local communities. Shutdowns of non-essential businesses, mask mandates and social distancing practices were being put into place everywhere as this new, highly contagious virus swept over the world. When would it end? When would life return to normal? When was a vaccination going to be available? Everyone had so many questions but received very few answers. The Covid-19 pandemic changed life rapidly and dramatically two years ago and it continues to be a major issue today.

Life as Americans knew it before the Covid-19 pandemic has yet to make a full return, even two years later. Non-essential businesses have been able to open back up, however many vacant buildings remain due to loss of profits and not being able to afford to open their doors again. Although mask mandates have been lifted,
many individuals still wear masks in fear of the new variants. Vaccinations are now readily available to the public, but many individuals have yet to get vaccinated. What was once the center of desire is now the center of concern, the Covid-19 vaccination.

Why are so many Americans reluctant to get the Covid-19 vaccine? According to the U.S. Census Bureau, Household Pulse Survey, 42.4% of unvaccinated adults said they do not trust the vaccine.1 Why are almost half of the unvaccinated, American adults untrusting of the Covid-19 vaccination? According to an
interviewee of mine, many Americans do not trust the vaccine because it is a new vaccine and it was being distributed before becoming approved by the FDA. When asked how do we get Americans to trust the vaccine, she responded, “individuals need to do their own research and stop listening to hearsay.” During an interview with a source, who works in the medical field, I asked “What would you tell someone who is reluctant to get the Covid-19 vaccination?” She responded, “You’re an adult, you can make that decision. However, the chances of you going to the hospital and being put on a ventilator are very high, especially if you have chronic illnesses. I have had multiple people who have contracted Covid, who do not have any chronic illnesses, and they are still experiencing long term effects”.

We know that many Americans are untrusting of the vaccine just yet, but what other factors are contributing to Americans not getting vaccinated? Unarguably, age, gender and level of education are also contributing factors when looking at which Americans are not vaccinated. When looking at ages and their
percentage of individuals who are vaccinated, we must take a few things into consideration. For the age group 5-11, who have been the most recent to be approved by the FDA, are only 26.7% and age group 12-17, also fairly new at being FDA approved, are at 58.0%.2 However, there is a continuing trend that shows as age
groups increase, so does the percentage of fully vaccinated individuals. The highest age group for being fully vaccinated against Covid-19 is 65-74, at 91.1%.3

When we look further into groups who have been vaccinated women have a higher vaccination rate than men at 66.9% versus 62.6%.4 How is the level of education playing a role? 76% of U.S. adults who hold a bachelor’s degree or higher had been vaccinated or planned to get vaccinated, compared to just over half of adults (53%) with less than a bachelor’s degree.5 Why are age, gender and education levels playing a role in who is becoming vaccinated? My interviewee stated that, “The younger age groups do not believe the vaccine. They are less likely to have chronic illnesses than the older generations, and think to themselves ‘I am healthy, I can do it.’ The gender gap is happening because a lot of men feel invincible and that it won’t happen to them. And more than likely, the men who have been vaccinated were told to do so by their wife. Education plays a huge role in the vaccination rates. Those with higher education are more likely to do research, read and understand the risks and side effects. Individuals with less education get their information from less than qualified resources and make uneducated decisions.”

Who are the individuals that are required to get vaccinated against Covid-19? When Americans are traveling domestically by air, no proof of being vaccinated is required, however non-U.S. citizens traveling by air to the United States with a nonimmigrant status must show proof of being fully vaccinated.6 I asked a
source, “Do you agree with this policy and would you change anything about it?” Her response was, “I do not agree with it. I believe anyone traveling by air should have to show proof to travel by air. It is ok to put yourself at risk, if you choose to do so. However, you do not have the right to gamble with my life.” Many American citizens are not required to get vaccinated against Covid-19, however all federal branch employees are required by an Executive order that was signed on September 9, 2021 by President Biden.7

Should this be extended to all employees? “My personal opinion, yes. Professionally, it is never going to happen, because then people are going to quit and we will be in a worse economic state than we are currently in,” said my interviewee. So how effective are the vaccinations, and do they protect against the variants? “I don’t know the exact percentage of them. However, they are effective in preventing individuals with chronic illnesses from getting Covid-19 and the variants. And actually, they are helping individuals who don’t have chronic illnesses avoid getting sick, or if they do, only have very mild symptoms.” We hear that individuals should get vaccinated and help stop the spread of Covid-19. How likely is it that a medical professional recommends the vaccination? My source in this particular profession says, “100 percent of the time, I recommend it. However, people are still resistant and will not get those vaccines. And I will tell them, if you have chronic illnesses, it will keep you out of the hospital. Like any vaccination, it is not a guarantee that you will not get the virus, but it will help prevent
you from getting severe symptoms because your body is producing antibodies in order to fight it better.”

1) Bureau, US Census. 2021. “Household Pulse Survey Shows Many Don’t Trust COVID Vaccine,
Worry about Side Effects.” December 28, 2021.
2) CDC. 2020. “COVID Data Tracker.” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. March 28, 2020.
3) CDC. 2020. “COVID-19 and Your Health.” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. February 11,
4) “Education Is Now a Bigger Factor than Race in Desire for COVID-19 Vaccine.” 2021. USC
Schaeffer. March 3, 2021.
5) Mayo Clinic. 2021. “U.S. COVID-19 Vaccine Tracker: See Your State’s Progress.” Mayo Clinic.
6) “Vaccine Laws and Regulations | Colorado COVID-19 Updates.” n.d.